Hawkins rehab going smoothly

Hawkins rehab going smoothly

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

Even though she isn’t playing much, one Saluki basketball player is having a tough time sleeping at night.

Freshman guard Tiajaney Hawkins said her January shoulder surgery has made catching z’s a chore. 

Sleeping is really difficult,” Hawkins said. “I enjoy sleeping on my stomach and I can’t do that, and I can’t roll over, so I’m forced to sleep on my back, which is really uncomfortable.”


“Nae” injured her right shoulder in a 61-58 loss to Memphis on Nov. 29. She became a medical redshirt, which ended her season.

“The doctors threw a lot of big words at me about what I had actually injured,” Hawkins said, “They repaired the labrum and tightened some muscles to put it back together and put the arm in the sling, so I can’t move it.” 

Aside from the lack of sleep, Hawkins said her recovery from shoulder surgery is progressing along nicely.

“It’s a gradual process,” she said. “I don’t really know an exact timetable when I’ll be completely ready to go, but I’ve been told it could be in the next two months.”

The 5-foot 10-inch guard from East Chicago, Ind., played in five games this season averaging 6.8 minutes and three points per game before the injury.

Although surgery was in the first week of January, Hawkins didn’t start rehab until almost February. 

Her rehab consists of “pendulums,” which she said she has been doing once a day for the past two weeks to regain motion in her shoulder.


“You just lean with one hand on the table and keep all the motion in your hips because you don’t want your shoulders to move and just slowly rotate my right arm in a circle,” Hawkins said.

Taking a medical redshirt gives her another year of eligibility.

Hawkins, who has not practiced while wearing a sling, said sitting out has been a big help, showing her what she must improve on for next year.

“It’s tough, but when you sit back and watch your teammates, you learn a lot from them and can apply the things from their game to yours,” she said. “You see how they carry themselves in practice and I’ve taken mental notes to adjust my game to get better.”

Senior forward Azia Washington has also battled injuries this season. She missed the first two exhibition games and has seen reduced minutes to take stress off her surgically repaired knee. 

Washington said she has provided encouragement to Hawkins because she understands what she’s going through.

“I just tell her to keep her head up and be positive,” she said. “It’s not easy to sit out and be inactive but she’ll be back and ready to go before if she sticks to her rehab plan.”  

Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or 618-534-3303